Webbs Motorcycle Auction 31 March 2012

These days I try to stay away from auctions. A nervous twitch, itchy nose, or unexplained wink could be misconstrued as either a flirtatious gesture towards the auctioneer, or more than likely a bid. For me it would be just a nervous twitch, itchy nose, or an annoying eye lash. However when the lastest catalogue fell through the post I just had to go at least for the viewing. The attraction €“ well that would have to be the 50 odd lots that came from the estate of Doug Johnson, or more specifically one of his motorcycles that was on offer. I had known Doug since 1979 and found him to be a charismatic individual who was well informed on most things motorcycling who could quite easily upset people by speaking his mind. Sadly Doug passed away at the beginning of last year whilst mowing his lawns and now his motorcycle collection was up for sale. The motorcycle that I was interested in was a bike that I had rebuilt as a 14 year old to get my licence on. In ‘those days’ you could get your licence on a 350, in fact on any thing as long as you could ride. I obtained my Provisional Licence on a Thursday (one day after my 15th birthday), and completed the road test successfully one week later to gain a full licence. I was now a competent motorcyclist and knew everything about motorcycling, or so I thought. Nothing was going to stand in my way, except a few drains, slippery roads, 3 engine fires, and a policeman who gave me a warning for speeding 2 days after getting my provisional licence. So with the possibility of buying back my first motorcycle ( and how many chances does one get to do that?) I had to at least see if it was my old bike. Armed with a good memory, a copy of the papers from when I first re-registered it to go back on the road, and the original registration papers from when it was brand new (I throw nothing away) off I went.

The auction venue was, as it has been in the past, at Shed 5 in Auckland central. However this time it was scheduled to be held on a more respectable Saturday afternoon from 2pm (respectable for me anyway) instead of the previous mid week evening auctions starting at 6pm. A good crowd was present, not too sure if they were all interested in bidding or just regarded it as a good afternoons outing. With Doug Johnsons interest in pre war, classic, and early japanese motorcycles covering over half the auction lots there probably was something for every one on offer.

Doug prized his pre war BSAs and it was these bikes that were the main attraction, as well as his incomplete projects and box lots of spare parts. Additional attractions were the 1915 Quirks Mona requiring a full restoration. A very rare Australian built motorcycle with all the major bits there this one also came with ½ another bike for parts. Yet another BSA Sloper up on offer, a very nicely restored 1929 Triumph Horsman 500cc TT Model, and Doug Johnsons 1938 Excelsior Warrior. Most of the parts and project bikes sold, with some buyers going away with some bargains. Few of the complete bikes sold on the day but were conditional so negotiation on these would continue after the auction closed with the highest bidder.

Looks like a photograph from a 1950s motorcycle shop.











Coventry Eagle €“ A unique 2 stroke and great little project.











Dougs handsome English Excelsior Warrior.




















The Quirks Mona.











Project Bikes











American Excelsior Big X and Sidecar.





























And others of interest.

I didn’t stay to the end but noted down prices from auction lots that may be of interest to those who wished that they had gone.


Lot # Year Description Condition Restored/Unrestored Estimated Value Auction Price Comment
1 BSA Period Race Bike As raced $1500~$2500 $3800 Sold
2 1949 Royal Enfield 350cc OHV Model G Rigid Older Restoration 3K~5K 2K A good buy.
3 —— Royal Enfield 350 Parts $50~$100 $25.00 Sold
7 Pre War BSA Motor €“ no internals $100~$200 $650 Sold
16 BSA Gear Box Internals $100~$200 $200 Sold
20 BSA Chain Cases $200~$300 $50 Sold
24 Box of Magnetos and Generators $400~$600 $200 Sold
26 Albion Gearbox $800~$1000 $400 Not Sold
33 Girder Fork Blades $300~$600 $400 Sold
39 5 BSA Frames €“ not complete $400~$800 $400 Sold
40 BSA Custom Motorcycle $1000~$2000 $1200 A very good buy
41 Coventry Eagle €“ Not Complete $1000~$1500 $600 Sold
42 Pre War BSA 250 Not Complete $1500~$2500 $800 A very good buy
49 1934 Royal Enfield 250 sv Sloper Engine and 1938 Frame $400~$800 $200 Conditional
61 1914 Hobart Restored $10K~$15K $6500 Conditional
62 1915 Quirks Mona Unrestored €“ In Parts $15K~$30K $13000 Conditional
63 1915 Excelsior Big x and Sidecar Restored $68K~$88K $61000 Conditional
65 1917 Merkel Motor Wheel Restored $8K~$12K $5000 Conditional
66 1929 BSA Sloper Restored $12K~$18K $10000 Conditional
67 1929 Triumph Horsman Restored $25K~$35K $25000 Sold
69 1938 Excelsior Warrior G9 Older Restoration $10K~$20K $7500 Conditional
72 1941 Indian Scout 741 Restored $19K~$25K $16000 Conditional
73 1951 Triumph Thunderbird Restored $18K~$25K $14000 Conditional
74 1951 Panther Restored $12K~$18K $7000 Conditional
75 1951 Sunbeam S7 Deluxe and Sidecar Restored $12K~$17K $16000 Sold
76 1954 BSA B31 Restored $6K~$8K $5000 Conditional
77 1955 Universal B50 Meteor Supercharged Restored $15K~$20K $13000 Conditional
81 1960s BSA 350 Race Bike €“ Girder Special Modified Special $2K~$3K $2500 Sold

All prices are exclusive of the buyers premium of 15% and GST of 15% on the premium.

And was I successful in bidding for my old bike? Yes I was. The only problem was slipping it into the garage under the cover of darkness so Mrs McSnoopy doesn’t discover it too soon. Meanwhile I will be practicing my skilful reply when she finally does see it and asks €œhow long have we owned that one for?€ Things are jam packed away in my shed so hopefully that question will be at least be a couple of years away!